The Goonies’ Giant Octopus

A reflexion on The Goonies, deleted scenes and the art of editing.

On the right a computer screen is showing an editing software while on the left is a still from the movie.
Courtesy of mchiroque

Donnie Darko stands in the list of my top 3 favorite movies. Richard Kelly’s first (and probably best) full-lenght feature stars alongside Dirty Dancing and the Goonies. Yup, weird choice for a horror fiend but that’s how life rolls. This also probably explains why I know who Franck is. You know Frank, the man in the rabbit suit. Frank is actually Donnie’s sister’s boyfriend. I distinctly recall discovering this while watchin the deleted scenes on the DVD. A single shot of the top of the stairs with Maggie Gyllenhaal holding a phone, talking to Frank.

Donnie Darko stands in the list of my top 3 favourite movies. Richard Kelly’s first (and probably best) full-length feature stars alongside Dirty Dancing and the Goonies. Yup, weird choice for a horror fiend but that’s how life rolls. This also probably explains why I know who Franck is. You know Frank, the man in the rabbit suit. Frank is actually Donnie’s sister’s boyfriend. I distinctly recall discovering this while watching the deleted scenes on the DVD. A single shot of the top of the stairs with Maggie Gyllenhaal holding a phone, talking to Frank. This was one of my first foray into the army of bonuses physical media used to offer. I won’t lie, I was of those consumers who would buy “Ultimate” and “Limited” and “Prestige” edition of movies for their plethora of bonus but never watched them. Donnie Darko was special. I was young, hadn’t set a single step on any movie set. At the time, I could not even comprehend how weird it was for a deleted scene to be edited.

The Goonies’ Octopus rises its eyes aboe the water.

I’m French. I know it’s been stated in my bio but you could have stumbled in here by sheer mistake. Some people do, I have the numbers to prove it. Being French means those three movies I used to watch A LOT; I was used to watching them with a French dubbing. To me, Corey Feldman will always be called “Bagou” and Choc will always have to do the “Bouffi-Bouffon”.

Richard Donner’s Amblin flick is one of those movies I recorded on a VHS and played and played again and played again some more ’til the tape broke and then I cried and waited for Christmas and recorded it again only to start the cycle all over again. I can safely say The Goonies might be the movie I have watched the most alongside Cry Baby and Beetlejuice.

Do you remember? How you used to watch movies? As a child, I mean? When you did not see the lights, the human figure underneath the scarab costume (Hye Dark Crystal!). When none of this mattered.

I sometimes do.

Hence why after having watched the Goonies so many times, I was intrigued, to say the least, when, during the end sequence, Data reports to a journalist that the scariest part of their journey was the giant octopus. A remark none of the kids seems bothered by and to which the reporter answers: “The giant octopus!”. Amazed.

I am now gonna assume a fair share of my reader already watched the Goonies since it’s been released in 85 and are now like: But there ain’t no goddamn octopus in this movie! (Yup, this is how you all talk in my head). This is true, though a hint can be found in the Cindy Lauper videoclip Goonies’r’good enough part 2. In which the Goonies fight alongside the singer a giant octopus.

Yet, as we began, the answer really lies in the deleted scenes. Right after the toboggan scene, before they board the ship, the kids were supposed to fight the cephalopod. Yet the entire sequence got deleted. Why might you ask? Why build a big animatronic creature only to leave it on the editing floor?

Bunch of reason could explain this decision. Maybe Donner though this precise fight didn’t fit the movie. A decision we could certainly agree on. Maybe they thought, in Amblin fashion, that the “Octopus didn’t work!”. This is how most of us apprehend movies. As if everything was the filmmaker’s choice.

The simple one, though, would be that director are actually given one day of editing for two days of shoot. Meaning if a movie took 30 days to shoot, the filmmaker only has 15 days in the editing room. Once this delay is passed, the producer and his own editor steps in. Every wonder why you get director’s cut so fundamentally different than the theatrical cut? Fair chance this is the explanation behind it.

See, as fans, we tend to focus on reshoot such as was the case with Ti West’s Cabin Fever 2, Zack Snyder’s Justice League or Joe Lynch’s Knights of Badassdom when it’s almost certain your favourite movie wasn’t its director original cut.

This can lead to bothersome results. Such as the fifteen missing minutes in Batman v Superman which rendered the whole plot senseless but it can also save some flick, believe it or not.

In December 2019, I shot a short film. My first job as a director of photography in six or seven years. Because of reasons, I feared the movie would never get released, that it would not even go through the editing process. Thing is, the director had asked me to cut the fight scene which happens midway through the movie and I really wanted to try my hand at editing this sequence. To me, it was a sort of test, to know if I was able to edit an action sequence. For the hell of it, I made a cut of the whole flick, since my day wasn’t over. I won’t ever show it publicly, but when I want to talk to somebody about the differences that might exist when different people edit the same images, I show them both projects back-to-back.

Editing is a powerful tool, what with people always babbling about the Kuleshov effect. Add some production design upon this, and you turn everyone’s favourite character into a liar.

Next week we’ll talk is flash fiction week! Hope to see you there!

Releasing a paper every Friday.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store